NEON is a non-profit organisation that works to bring contemporary culture closer to everyone. It is committed to broadening the appreciation, understanding, and creation of contemporary art in Greece, and to the firm belief that this is a key tool for growth and development. NEON, founded in 2013 by collector and entrepreneur Dimitris Daskalopoulos, breaks with the convention that limits the contemporary art foundation of a collector to a single place. NEON’s space is the city. It acts on a multitude of initiatives, spaces, and civic and social contexts. It seeks to expose the ability contemporary art has to stimulate, inspire, and affect the individual and society at large. NEON constructively collaborates with cultural institutions and supports the programmes of public and private institutions to enhance increased access and inventive interaction with contemporary art.
Dimitris Daskalopoulos, OBE is the chairman of the financial services and investment company DAMMA Holdings SA and a founding partner of the Diorama private equity funds.
As the principal owner, chairman, and chief executive officer, Dimitris oversaw, from 1983, the transformation of a family dairy business into VIVARTIA S.A., Greece’s largest food company, with leading brands in dairy, bakery, frozen foods, and restaurants and 13,000 employees in 29 countries. He sold the business in 2007.
He served as president of the Greek Federation of Food Industries (1999–2006) and as chairman of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) (2006–2014), Greece’s most important entrepreneurial association. He was named honorary president of SEV in 2014.
He was a member of the European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT) from 1998 to 2008 and the vice president of BUSINESSEUROPE, the European Union’s top business federation, from 2012 to 2014.
Dimitris is the founder and Chairman of diaNEOsis (2015), a research think tank, which commissions studies and makes policy proposals on the major social and economic issues in Greece.
In 2013, he founded NEON, a cultural non-profit organization working to bring contemporary art and culture closer to the Greek public through exhibitions, commissions, grants and scholarships, and educational programs.
Dimitris is a collector of contemporary art. The D.Daskalopoulos Collection (1994) is an extensive yet focused collection of contemporary art, comprised of works by leading international and Greek artists, tracing the key aesthetic developments of the last forty years. The collection gives particular prominence to large-scale installations and sculptures, as well as drawing, collage, film, and video. Through the Collection’s open lending policy, he has supported exhibitions worldwide.
Thematic exhibitions of the Collection have been presented at the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010–11), the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2011), and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2012–13).
In 2022 a major body of 350 important contemporary artworks were donated by the D.Daskalopoulos Collection to four museums (EMST/National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens, Tate, and jointly to Guggenheim and MCA Chicago).
Dimitris is a member of the board of trustees and vice president of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and a member of the board of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. He is active in the Tate International Council, the Leadership Council of the New Museum, and a founding partner of Whitechapel Gallery’s Future Fund.
His contribution to the arts has been recognized on numerous occasions: he is the recipient of the 2014 Leo Award by Independent Curators International; he was honored by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation at the 2018 Guggenheim International Gala for his innovative philanthropy in the arts; in 2022 the Whitechapel Gallery inaugurated the D.Daskalopoulos Gallery; and he was made an honorary fellow of Goldsmiths, University of London in 2023. That year, he was appointed an honorary officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his services to the arts and philanthropy.
Dimitris was born 1957 in Athens, Greece.
He holds a B.A. in management studies from the Athens University of Economics and an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.
He is fluent in Greek, English, and French.